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Cheesecake Factory Bruschetta

By Todd Wilbur


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Menu Description: "Grilled Bread Topped with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Red Onion, Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil."

In 1972, Oscar and Evelyn Overton moved from Detroit to Los Angeles to build a wholesale bakery that would sell cheesecakes and other high-quality desserts to local restaurants. Business was a booming success, but some restaurants balked at the high prices the bakery was charging for its desserts. So, in 1978, the couple's son David decided to open a restaurant of his own—the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant—in posh Beverly Hills. The restaurant was an immediate success and soon David started an expansion of the concept. Sure, the current total of 20 restaurants doesn't seem like a lot, but his handful of stores earns the chain more than $100 million in business each year. That's more than some chains with four times the number of outlets rake in.

Bruschetta is one of the top-selling appetizers at the restaurant chain. Bruschetta is toasted bread flavored with garlic and olive oil, broiled until crispy, and then arranged around a pile of tomato-basil salad in vinaigrette. This salad is scooped onto the bruschetta, and then you open wide. This version makes five slices just like the dish served at the restaurant, but the recipe can be easily doubled. 

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Roma plum tomatoes (6 to 8 tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (4 to 6 small leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspooon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground pepper
  • 1/2 loaf French baguette or crusty Italian bread (5 to 7 slices)
  • 1/4 teaspooon garlic salt
  • 2 to 3 sprigs Italian parsley
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Cheesecake Factory
    • Instructions

      1. Combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil in a medium bowl.

      2. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and mix well. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

      3. When you are ready to serve the dish, preheat your broiler and slice the baguette in 1-inch slices on a 45-degree angle to make 5 slices of bread.

      4. Combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil with the garlic salt.

      5. Brush the entire surface of each slice of bread (both sides) with the olive oil mixture. Broil the slices of bread in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side or until the surface of the bread starts to turn brown.

      6. Arrange the bread like a star or spokes of a wheel on a serving plate. Pour the chilled tomato mixture in a neat pile onto the bread slices where they meet at the center of the plate. Garnish with Italian parsley.

      Tidbits: There is a variation on this recipe if your bread has a hard crust. The more traditional method of rubbing the bread with the garlic clove is done as follows: after you slice the bread, slice a clove of garlic in half and rub it around the edge of the crust on both sides of the bread. Rub the olive oil on the bread and lightly salt each slice, if you like. Grill the bread the same way as above in step 5.

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